A Vaisakhi Call to Action: Standing up for Immigrant Rights

Guest blogged by Brooklynwala

While many of us were celebrating 311 years of the Khalsa at Sikh Day Parades and Nagar Kirtans this weekend, thousands of immigrants and their allies gathered in Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday to protest what is being called the AZ_law_immigration.jpgmost anti-immigrant legislation in the United States, Senate Bill1070. Signed into law by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on April 23rd, this measure allows local law enforcement authorities to question individuals based solely upon the suspicion that they may be undocumented.

According to the New York Times, The lawwould make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.

President Obama stated that the law threatens to undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans, as well as the trust between police and our communities that is so crucial to keeping us safe.

While activists nationally have been tirelessly working to push forward comprehensive immigration reform to fix a very broken immigration system, this law is a huge setback that undermines the most basic human rights and blatantly encourages racial profiling. Many South Asian and Sikh organizations in the U.S. have been active in the movement for just immigration reform. Without a doubt, immigration reform is a desi issue and a Sikh issue.

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT), a prominent national organization, just issued a statement opposing the Arizona law. It states, The new Arizona lawunderscores the need for immigration reform and anti-profiling policies. In the absence of federal measures, state and local governments are implementing their own immigration enforcement policies that result in profiling, undermine trust between communities and police, and diminish public safety. SAALT calls upon policymakers to oppose the Arizona law, and to enact policies that respect fundamental civil rights.

While we celebrate this Vaisakhi season, lets keep the Khalsa mission of fighting against injustice in all its forms at the forefront. Our sisters and brothers in Arizona need us. The 12 million undocumented immigrants around the country living in the shadows need us.

Here are some tips from SAALT about what we can do:

  • Contact Arizona Governor Jan Brewer with the following message: “I am deeply disappointed that you have signed SB 1070. This law promotes discrimination and profiling by legitimizing suspicion based upon appearance. I ask that this law be rescinded immediately.” Her office can be reached at (602) 542-4331 or [email protected].
  • Join rallies occurring across the country on May 1 in support of immigration reform. Click here to find a rally in your area.

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8 Responses to “A Vaisakhi Call to Action: Standing up for Immigrant Rights”

  1. amit says:

    I disagree with this law and hope the federal courts over turn it. This is simply legal racial profiling.

  2. amit says:

    I disagree with this law and hope the federal courts over turn it. This is simply legal racial profiling.

  3. […] yet be overturned in the courts, as Barack Obama and a whole hosts of groups have declared their opposition to […]

  4. […] Below is a guest post by Sonny Singh on the importance within the Sikh and South Asian communities to mobilize around immigration reform and the impact of Arizona’s new anti-immigrant law. This piece is also cross-posted at The Langar Hall. […]

  5. […] have written previously about immigrant rights and justice on this blog, noting not only the importance of immigration […]

  6. Anonymous says:

    What rights do immigrants have?
    Why do you disagree with SB1070?

  7. […] A few months ago, Alabama followed in Arizona’s footsteps in passing a bill that many are calling the most sweeping anti-immigrant law in the country, going even farther than Arizona’s highly controversial SB 1070. […]

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